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The Evil Eye in Canticles

Zacharias Kotze


The belief in the evil eye has been closely associated with the emotion of envy in the folklore of numerous cultures of various periods in history. This paper explores this link in the book of Canticles, with specific reference to the notion of beauty. Firstly, it is demonstrated how, due to its susceptibility to envy, beauty is particularly vulnerable to the evil eye. It is further demonstrated how the theme of the evil eye is used to typify the transformation of the female lover from vulnerable beauty in earlier chapters into a frightening visual aggressor in later chapters of the book. Finally, the implications of the evil eye belief for theological interpretations of the book of Canticles are assessed.

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